Please enjoy today’s Jonathan Kozol moment for June 17th, 2011. Have a happy Stewarts Root Beer Day. Interesting Fact: After human death, post-mortem rigidity starts in the head and travels to the feet, and leaves the same way it came — head to toe. (How ironic, it’s usually the rigid that need a head start.)
“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.” Jonathan Kozol
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s extremely deep Word of the Day. I will not leave the church picnic until I have sampled some fried chicken. It’s a battle I can almost always win!
This Weeks Word from Our Lord
“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:4-5 NIV
Now it is time for the super nifty bonus Word (or Phrase) of the Week! Learn and speak English, it’s the Mother Tongue!
forebear (noun, Pronounced FOR-bair) : ancestor, forefather; also : precursor
Used in a sentence: It is said that my forebear used to publish a weekly periodical entitled “Ye Ole Word Of Thy Day”.
Rite of Passage
“Sit down, child, and make yourself comfortable.” The old man gave a sigh. He knew that young Billy was going to be a captive audience. He loved to tell the stories of old. He loved to share the wisdom of the ancients with the new generation. Too often, young folks were too distracted with electronic gadgets and such. They missed so much. But, out here in the wilderness, the old man knew that there would be no distractions. There was no signal way out here, and he had confiscated everything, anyway. Now, in front of the campfire, the old man put on his best wise old storyteller face and began to spin the old and ancient tales.
Billy eyed the old man as took his seat at the campfire. He really didn’t want to be there. Sure the camping was fun, but he didn’t understand why he had to be out in the woods alone with the creepy old man. Would having a few friends come along really have been all that horrible? Now, the old man was going to tell some sort of fable that was supposed have this lame lesson incorporated into it. This was not how Billy pictured spending his summer vacation.
The old man smiled and began, “In the beginning the Great Sky Turtle laid her eggs…”
Billy rolled his eyes. “The Great Sky Turtle” was the last thing he wanted to be listening to right now. He’d seen his share of turtles. There was nothing wise or profound about turtles. They sure didn’t have anything to do with the creation of the universe. If the old man was going to make up stories, why couldn’t he do it about space ninjas or something? Nobody seems to want to tell stories about space ninjas anymore. Billy couldn’t even remember the last time someone made a video game about space ninjas. Everything was vampires and zombies these days, it’s kind of depressing when you think about it…
“Billy? Are you paying attention?”
Billy looked up at the old man and tried to hide the fact that he had not heard a word for the last twenty minutes. He had a feeling there were tale-tale signs in his expression. The old man was eyeing him wearily. Billy really didn’t care what the old man thought. He just hoped that this didn’t mean the old man was going to restart from the beginning.
“It’s okay if you weren’t listening, Billy. I know that young people like you are easily distracted.”
“Sure,” the old man smiled. “As the elder of our people, it is my job to make sure that everyone knows the tribal wisdom that has been passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes I take a young person out here and he listens to everything I have to say. When that happens, then the young person is allowed to go back home. It is a rite of passage.”
Billy gazed into the old man’s smiling eyes. He was beginning to get an uneasy feeling. “So what happens if the young person does not listen to your stories?”
“What? Do you mean like you? You want to know what’s going to happen to you?”
“Well, nothing bad. Right?”
The old man fell into laughter. At first the laughter was a soft chuckle, but it grew. The laughter grew and continued to grow until it was the hard sharp laughter of a maniac. The old man doubled over in his laughing. “Ha, Ha, Ha, You want to know what’s going to happen to you! That’s rich! Oh, that’s grand!”
Billy began to cry. This was definitely not the way things were supposed to be going. He wanted to go home more than anything and this crazy old man was very scary.
“Ha, Ha, Ha, What are you crying for young one? Aren’t you having a good time?”
“No! I am not having a good time! I want to go home!”
“Oh, does the little boy want to go home to his mommy and his digital game system, and his television set? Is that what the little boy wants? Is it? Is it?”
Billy stood up and tried to be brave in the face of the mad old man! “Yes! I want to go home. I don’t want to be here with you.”
The old man clutched his stomach, “But I am hungry, Billy. I am really hungry. You have no idea just how hungry I am.”
Billy tried to put some distance between him and the old man, but was frozen in fear. “Well, if you are so hungry then why don’t you fix yourself a snack? I think I have some granola in my backpack.”
“Oh, I don’t need granola. I think what I need is some fresh meat!” The old man appeared to be foaming at the mouth.
Billy threw a package of beef jerky at the old man and began to run. He took off as fast as has feet would take him. It seemed the faster he ran, the closer the voice of the old man seemed to be. It sounded like the old man was beginning to growl like some sort of wild animal. Billy’s adrenalin carried him through the woods a good ways, but eventually his body started to protest. Tripping over his own feet, he could still hear the mad laughs and the growls of the old man getting closer and closer. Billy made a crawl to a small tree and gripped it for dear life, when suddenly everything went black.
Billy awoke to the smell of beans on the fire. He started. He was back at the campsite. Fear gripped him as he spotted the old man. He was sitting in the same spot he had been earlier.
“You gave me quite a start, young man. One minute I am trying to tell you a story, the next thing I know, you scream and pass out. Are you okay?”
Confusion began to creep over Billy’s face as the old man began to serve up the beans.
“Oh, boy was I hungry,” stated the old man as offered Billy his bowl. “Now, where was I? Are you ready to hear about the Great Sky Turtle?”
Billy took his bowl and sat up straight, ready to listen intently.
“In the beginning the Great Sky Turtle laid her eggs…” began the old man. Inside, he smiled at himself. It worked every time.
Shades of Plaid is now available. It took longer than expected, however I am now beside myself with joy because the book is out. Being beside oneself is not all it’s cracked up to be. I might start arguing with myself in a bit. In the meantime, here are ways to get to the book.
It’s now in paperback https://www.createspace.com/3521456
And Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004UB5E3S
Extra Double Special Bonus: Jo and Jonathan’s Terrible Turtle Conspiracy